JIM LEAVITT AND OREGON MUTUALLY PART WAYS – ‘A National Search for a New Defensive Coordinator is Underway’ Says Statement

The departure of Oregon defensive Coordinator Jim Leavitt was confirmed Thursday morning by the University of Oregon football communications department.

Word swirled Wednesday afternoon that head coach Mario Cristobal and Jim Leavitt mutually decided to part ways after two seasons leading the defense.

The released statement on Thursday was short and to the point;

Defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt and the University of Oregon have mutually reached an agreement to part ways. Leavitt recently completed his second season as Oregon defensive coordinator, having originally joined the Ducks’ coaching staff in December 2016. 

 The agreement will be funded by athletics entirely from private sources and has a maximum amount of $2.5 million, payable over multiple years and subject to reduction based on future employment.

 A national search for a new UO defensive coordinator is underway.

What stood out in the release was the final line of the statement regarding a national search for a new coordinator being underway.

On Wednesday it was reported by 24/7 Sports that Cristobal would be elevating Keith Heyward to the new defensive coordinator position.    Heyward was hired in 2017 to coach the safeties.   He was later elevated to co-defensive coordinator and was primarily responsible for the defensive game plan.

Before Leavitts arrival, the Oregon defense was one of the worst in the country.   In 2015 the Ducks ranked 115th in the nation and in 2016 they dropped to 128th in the country.

This past season Oregon allowed their opponents an average of 402 yards per game which came in ranked at 67th in the country.   The year prior, Leavitts first season leading the defense, the Ducks allowed 367 yards per game.

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